Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Summary

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Summary

This is a short story picturing an African-American girl’s studies. However, it is much more about the main character’s feelings than about the studying. The story starts with the day the main character arrives at Yale from Baltimore. She is to play ‘smart people games’ with other students, but actually she doesn’t. She sees another black person in the company, who seems to be interesting but strange for her. Dina (here we get the name of main character) gives so unexpected answer while the game, so that she gets counseled by a psychiatrist for a year. Her marks are bad and she quickly becomes an ascetic in her own (also due to this answer) room.

One day somebody knocks the door of her apartment. It is ‘a she’ with white skin and tearful eyes. The first talk between Dina and Heidi (that is the name of the girl) is about their loneliness but still their talk doesn’t sound friendly.

The author cuts the talk and brings the reader again to Dina’s next talk with a psychiatrist. Dina speaks shortly about her parents: she didn’t love her father and sympathized her mother.

Heidi makes another visit to Dina. They go out to eat something to Commons. Each group has its table here. So that girls are to find their one somewhere in the dark end of the hall. Casually Dina sharply answers a white guy trying to joke over her. Heidi says Dina is flip, but she doesn’t bother and Heidi takes this.

Girls sigh on work at Dining Hall as dishwashers. Sometimes Dina has conflicts with visitors.

Dr. Raeburn asks Dina about her romantic feelings. She tells him a story about a boy she once met and whom she obviously liked. Dina didn’t have any sexual relations with him, but in the version for Dr. Raeburn she had one. It probably isn’t a theme she would like to speak about.

Dina and Heidi speak about their future plans. Now they seem to have become friends. Suddenly Dina decides to have a hose shower at work after cleaning the floor. It sounds odd for Heidi, but still she does the same when Dina insists.

That is the moment something especial begins in their relations. They sleep together, smell their hair, read books which have no relation to their studying. One day Dina sees Heidi at the meeting pronouncing herself loving girls. From this moment they don’t speak in weeks.

Heidi knocks Dina’s door. Heidi is in tears, like that first time they met one another. Her mother died and Dina doesn’t find right words to give her support. Dina tells Dr. Raeburn about it and about her own mother, but he accuses her of pretending. Dina is shocked: he doesn’t know her life, but speaks so cruelly. She reminds her mother funeral when she pretended drinking coffee instead of milk: she wanted to drink coffee elsewhere.

Heidi wants Dina come to Heidi’s mother funeral. Dina packs her suitcase and goes to Heidi’s room where she finds her friend in circle of lesbians. Dina thinks Heidi sleeps with them. But she doesn’t. Heidi goes to the funeral alone. Dina every day imagines herself visiting Heidi in Vancouver. But one day she imagines Heidi coming to her room. There are no other people – just two of them.

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